Most people begin the HopeKeepers groups in their churches, but sometimes facing the pastoral staff or the leadership can be a little intimidating. They often want some kind of presentation about how the person with the passion to do this envisions it coming to fruition.
One HopeKeepers leader was kind enough to share what she presented to her church. See a second one here.
Contact the author, Cindy Andrews at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like ideas, help, feedback, etc.
MY VISION STATEMENT TO MY CHURCH
Life can be a series of devastating dominoes, & you can’t cope alone, but by meeting others who can offer support & learning that God is there always, you can make it through – “If God brings you to it, HE will lead you through it”.
This is the first & last message that I would like others to learn & remember. When we are afflicted with a chronic illness, what is the first thing we normally say? “I don’t deserve this! WHY Father are you allowing my life to change in so many ways? It’s all unfair! Why should I have so much anguish, anger, & yes doubt?”
When there is pain & suffering in our lives, we have a choice as to how we will respond. We can choose to get angry & depressed & hurt by the pain, which at times is emotional & spiritual pain. This is the qu&ary surrounding our lives. This is why I would like to reach out to others & lead them to trust God with our pain & our spiritual walk.
My vision – The manner in which I see Gods’ word being brought to others in the midst of a group of those afflicted with a chronic illness.
Reaching out to those who hurt physically, emotionally & spiritually through a small-scale Bible study. These Bible studies would not only be from scriptures including Job, Psalms, & Proverbs, but from resources such as Rest Ministries, & books like Suffering in Slow Motion by Pamela & Richard Kennedy, When God Is Silent by Charles R. Swindoll (& other resources by Mr. Swindoll for those who are hurting), & Phillip Keller’s book The inspirational Writings. We would be taking excerpts from all of these books & others, & making it into a time of learning & discovering that there is reason & purpose for God allowing things to happen.
Leave time for discussions & encouragement at each study.
Prayer time for those in the group & others in the church & the community through names given to us anonymously or from the Elders or other leaders in the church.
As it states in James 5:14 Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. This is a practice that I would like to have applied to those in this outreach. It could be done as a group at one of the meetings to those who which to participate.
I would like to see this as a group where people who suffer can come & feel comfortable & hear that others are going through similar situations. This would be where they can cry, & speak their truths of pain & we can show them that God is here for each & every one of us. If we can help them with their physical & emotional needs, we can then help meet their spiritual needs.
Outreach to our community through some in the group who may be physically or mentally challenged at times but who want to share & witness, (i.e. those who are not having a bad day that day with their disease). This would include going to rehabilitation or care homes to read the word of God & share praise so those within the group, as well as those we are visiting, may have the opportunity to not only hear HIS word but also to respond to others needing Jesus & know that they are not alone in their particular situation.
There would be a need of course to have the help of certain individuals willing to be involved & that feel the need to help others in these types of situations & to delegate certain duties accordingly.
It would also be good to have a small newsletter go out after each meeting to recap, & to invite others who can help.
Have certain meetings to be meetings of praise & worship. Have someone who can play guitar or piano & someone who can sing in tune (which is not me) come & lead the group in praise. One of my favorite books for songs of praise is Then Sings My Soul with over 150 of the world’s greatest hymns & the stories about each.
There should be a follow up after each meeting via email or phone. Phone is the best option for those who were not able to attend but who are in need & see how they are doing & pray with them at that time.
I have prayed about this for many months & I would love to help & be a part of a ministry, an affinity group such as this, & would be humbled if allowed. I have seen God do incredible things in my life even before I was a Christian, & after becoming a child of God. My life has not been a story book of happiness & freedom from Satan. I constantly struggle with my health BUT I have learned that God is there & my faith factor is solid in Him. I continue to try & learn through reading God’s word & through the many Bible studies that I am in now or have attended. My need, & my desire, is to help others find their way to God through their suffering.
By listening, guiding, & offering them fellowship & support, I believe we can faithfully minister to those in our church & community who may feel ab&oned, alone & separated from others & from God because of serious, chronic or disabling illnesses.
Suffering can make us more like Christ as clearly shown in Phil 3:10; Hebrews 2:10, along with so many other passages in the Bible on suffering & faith. I am praying that this is what everyone will walk away with.